SM Foundation turn over 20 classrooms in Eastern Samar

After a year of holding classes in two Department of Public Works and Highways bunkhouses or under the shades of trees, 846 students of Pedro E. Candido National Memorial High School have moved to two newly constructed school buildings in a site built by SM Foundation with funds from partners Forever 21, Global Hope Inc. & TTokamsa Mission Church. The new buildings stand on a one hectare lot donated by Angelique Claire Candido, granddaughter of Pedro Candido the original owner of the property and former Mayor of Hernani, E. Samar.

Hernani is a fifth class municipality in the province of Eastern Samar comprising 13 barangays. It occupies an area of 49.42 km² with a population of around 8,070. Most of its population depend on agriculture and fishing as sources of income.

The original school buildings were totally devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) where three students from Grades VII & VIII perished. Construction on the former site was disallowed and was declared to be a No Build Zone.

Global Hope Inc., a non-government organization registered both in Korea and the United States, approached SM Foundation for a joint undertaking in a school building project. The Department of Education (DepEd) had recommended several sites of devastated school buildings. Since Global Hope Founder and CEO Dr. Yong Joong Cho has been a missionary in the Philippines in Samar for over two decades, SM Foundation and Global Hope visited Hernani in Eastern Samar, one of the towns in Eastern Samar badly hit by Typhoon Yolanda.

With the timely donation from the Candido family of a lot located in Barangay Nagaja, construction of the Pedro Candido Memorial High School were immediately put into place with two more partners: Forever 21 & TTokamsa Mission Church.

In spite of the dearth of construction materials and manpower, SM Engineering constructed two school buildings: one 2-storey school building with 9 classrooms, 1 library & l Korean Cultural Center aptly called the FOREVER 21 building and another 2-storey school building with ten classrooms called the Global Hope building.

Last January 21, representatives of Global Hope Inc., Forever 21 & TTokamsa Mission Church flew in from Korea and the United States to formally turn over the two school buildings to school and local government officials witnessed by SM Foundation representatives.

School Principal Noime Villarino said she expects students to flock back to the Pedro E. Candido National Memorial High School this coming school year after having stopped schooling or transferred to other schools while still others recovering from traumatic experiences.

The school will implement the new curriculum adopted by the DepEd so enrollment is expected to increase. One hundred seventy two (172) students are finishing high school this school year. More enrollees are expected from neighboring barangays in MacArthur and Llorente due to its proximity to the school.

The school has 38 regular teachers with an active PTA Board that helps in the clearing and cleaning of school premises as well as tree planting within the campus.

Moreover, SM Foundation opened its scholarship program to high school graduates of the school of which thirty-seven (37) students took the entrance examinations with ten (10) students qualifying for further interviews. Qualified scholars will enroll either in the Eastern Samar State University, Salcedo Campus or in the Borongan campus.

SM Foundation has also committed to build a multi-purpose hall for the students and the community on a lot that will be donated by the Candido family.